Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service

 A support service for professionals in tackling harmful sexual behaviours.

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In June 2021 Ofsted concluded that the prevalence of child-on-child sexual harassment and abuse was so widespread that, for some, incidents are ‘so commonplace that they see no point in reporting them’ and ‘consider them normal’. SWGfL and The Marie Collins Foundation has created a support service for professionals working with children and young people in tackling harmful sexual behaviours, funded by the Home Office and in collaboration with the Department for Education.

Harmful sexual behaviour is 'sexual behaviours expressed by children and young people under the age of 18 years old that are developmentally inappropriate, may be harmful towards self or others, or abusive towards another child, young person or adult' (Hackett, 2014).

The support service is available for anyone in England working with children and young people, particularly, designated safeguarding leads within primary and secondary schools and alternative provision. Support is also available to early years provision, colleges and wider safeguarding professionals (including police, social workers and health care professionals). If children within your care have been displaying or are affected by specific incidents of Harmful Sexual Behaviour, the support service can provide initial support and signpost to further resources and advice.

The support service is there to better support those professionals at the head of this issue. It can support with changing the culture that Ofsted highlighted in their report around sexual abuse in schools. The service, run by trained professionals, provides the tools to equip and empower adults through:

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Calls cost the same as standard landline starting ’01’ or ’02’. If your phone tariff offers inclusive calls to landlines, calls to 0345 numbers will also be included.

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